NTL has signed an agreement with Macquarie Bank to sell its Australian broadcast business for A$850 million (US$ 442 million). At present, the business’ bank debt outstanding totaled A$227 million (US$118 million).
NTL Australia owns and operates the most extensive terrestrial broadcast transmission network in Australia with over 98% population coverage provided from 578 sites located across metropolitan, regional and rural areas. For the year ended December 31, 2001, NTL Australia’s revenues were approximately A$119 million (US$62 million) generating EBITDA of approximately A$52 million ($27 million). NTL’s Australian operations also include a 51% share in a joint venture, NTLT, with two Australian regional broadcasters (WIN Television and Southern Cross Broadcasting) operating a carrier grade wholesale microwave telecommunications network along the east coast of Australia.
Barclay Knapp, Chief Executive Officer of NTL, said:
We are extremely pleased with the transaction that we have agreed today with Macquarie Bank. The strong level of interest shown throughout the competitive sale process endorses the quality of NTL Australia; a franchise which has consistently performed above our expectations. However, given the focus on our core businesses in Europe and the principle of maximizing stakeholder value, we believe that today’s transaction allows us to achieve both objectives. We are also confident that Macquarie Bank will build on our achievements and continue the seamless roll-out of digital technology in Australia.